ONLY ON 3: Morale hits a new low at WPD, many not happy with their jobs

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Submitted: Tue, 03/18/2014 - 10:06pm
Updated: Thu, 04/23/2015 - 12:30pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington police say morale in the department has hit a new low. The majority of Wilmington police officers are not happy with their job. That’s according to an employee survey at WPD.

50% of WPD staff took a survey conducted by the department.

Nearly 85% said morale at WPD is low or very low and they say it’s worse now than it was in previous years.

“We’ve had a bad year,” Police Chief Ralph Evangelous said. “We’ve had a lot of violence in this community, and our people have been put in some very bad situations, and it’s been a tough year.”

Chief Evangelous says the stressful year has put a strain on officers. But results show pay and benefits are the biggest factors contributing to low morale.

75% said they either disagree or strongly disagree with the merit pay system.

“Pay is a huge issue,” Evangelous said. “It has been dragging down morale here in the organization for a period of time. We’re working almost daily with the city manager city council, mayor. They’re all committed to making something happen with the pay issue.”

While communication was a strong point in the survey with supervisors and co-workers, 70% said communication was the worst with command staff.

“Communication is always a struggle,” Evangelous added. “And accurate and timely communication is always a struggle, so we’re working on it and we can always to better.”

But many surveyed also found issues with fairness in assignment selection, promotions, performance evaluations and disciplinary practices.

Chief Evangelous says the department has been working on the promotional process but could not tell us much more.

“Those have to be drilled down into. There is no clear explanation what they were talking about, so we’re actually going to re-survey those questions,” Evangelous said.

North Carolina Police Benevolent Association Executive Director John Midgette says the survey leaves more questions than answers. He says his organization would be more than happy to help the Chief get more specifics.

Chief Evangelous says they will probably re-survey the department with more specific questions next fall. He says they will be rolling out a new virtual system very soon that will improve communications.


  • Jen says:

    I know it’s not much in the way of fattening up your wallet, but just want to say WPD has the finest officers around! Great group of Men and Women!

  • jj says:

    I guess it is time to replace Chief Ralph Evangelous. I have never been impressed with him as chief and I think the survey shows that things are getting worst and not better under his command.

    I am also not happen with the lack of enforcement of the traffic laws in this town. Just drive on Carolina Beach Rd or Third Street and you would think you were on a NASCAR track.

    I will tell him like a told a Captain years ago. You can run your department with you sitting your A$$ behind a desk 8 hours a day.

  • Guest123 says:

    Considering the amount of corruption, poor leadership in the department that seems to go unchanged,(Does a week go by we don’t hear about some of Wilmington’s finest involved in a crime, excessive force, scandal) I’m not surprised the majority of officers (who are honest, good people) have low moral working in such a place.

    Their name is getting sullied too.

  • Guest Reply Redux says:

    1. Give up on the Ghost Hotel idea that will never be next to the Convention Center.
    2. Take the $100,000 lawyer fee set aside to defend said “Ghost Hotel” and turn it over to the WPD for employee benefits.
    3. Sell the Convention Center at a LOSS (as per usual), and take those funds and turn it over to the WPD for employee benefits.
    4. Turn the now…Old Convention Center…into a Beagle Farm sold for Huntin’ Dogs.
    5. Turn the Convention Center into a hotel…then work on building another Convention Center in its place…this time using LEGO’s from the box.
    6. Sell the hotel, that was the Convention Center, for market price…turn it into a Mega Jail for the local Gang Bangers (without internet or hot dog cook-outs)…have City Council resign…then take the money from that sale and it give it back to the WPD of Wilmington for pay increases…and for putting up with all the crap Council has shoveled at them over the years.

    The End

  • really? says:

    Thats quite the exaggeration. Every week? Other then the k-9 incident that happened like 2 months ago I cant think of one. Maybe the prostitution thing like 2 years ago. Dont start spewing off at the mouth without facts.

    Go ahead and show me an example of every week. Go ahead… ill wait.

  • Big M says:

    All they are is a bunch of government Storm Troopers. Fire them all before they shoot another citizen.

  • This is the problem says:

    Survey after survey after survey. Enough with the effin surveys. This is pissing off your employes more then anything. You know the problems. You know the solutions. Fix them. How many surveys have wpd officers had to take in the last year and nothing happens. It all just stays the same. Honestly the reason for the low morale (IN GENERAL) is the city. Its not within the police department. You keep taking and screwing over the employees. And now they talk about a raise finally to get our pay 20% lower then where it should be but you are going to take away other things from employees like 401k. Thats like moving money from my savings to my checking. I still have the same amount of freaking money. And then on top of that the benifits are awful. 140 bucks a month for a single. Family youre above 400. Obamacare would be cheaper.

  • Claskody says:

    Stall until fall, this is what Evangelous is saying.

  • Deputy427 says:

    If you think morale is low at WPD.. We will trade with you guys any day, anytime!!
    Here at the NHSO we have the most toxic evil staff to work for ever.

    We don’t care who you vote for just get rid of what we have here now!
    It’s terrible here!! Just ask any deputy and they will say just get these guys gone! We don’t care who beats them. Anybody would be better than what we have now!

  • Family ties says:

    Most of the long standing corruption reputation lies with the 2 family members who are/were Chief Superior Court Judge and Sheriff, William Allen Cobb and Sid Causey. Those 2 stir up more trouble, county and city lawsuits and ill-will than anyone else in this whole 5 county area. They keep everybody fighting. That’s how they stayed in power for 3 decades.

  • eveready cop says:

    We are bored silly at the beach, nothing to do all winter and we are deputized to help out in the gang task force. The county can likely use us with a simple hourly accounting transfer from our budget.

  • unaffiliated voter says:

    Asheville PD suffers from a bad choice in black police chiefs,,,this guy
    Anderson had bad records all over yet WHO did the lameass democrackkk City Council PICK??? Plus gave his wife AND son a city job too…he used to be in Greenville NC…sorry he’s in Asheville…we deserve much better.

  • guest 1234 says:

    You’re just a troll. Anybody? Really? Are you saying that Causey would be better? You’re on crack “deputy”. That extremely pathetic has-been would take your department back 20 years! You seriously think you have issues now? Imagine that good old boy club coming back! Talk about the dark ages!

  • dc says:

    How many times have i heard that same line time and time again ,we are working hard to fix the problem,well it aint gona happen. and it is not just wpd it is any where you go. thouse men and women that put there life on the line every day should be paid higer than the police cheif all he does is set behind a desk.

  • jj says:

    The Sheriff might change, but the command staff always stays the same. The command Staff in mostly the problem.

  • Guest2020 says:

    It also doesn’t help when an officer has been declared to have done nothing wrong, but gets demoted anyway. It seems like there was another survey done rather recently that had the same results. When is that idiot council going to get their heads out of downtown and focus on the real problems?

  • joe citizen says:

    I’ve talked to alot of officers at WPD, some that were involved in one of the recent shootings. It seems Chief Evangelous may have wrong perception. The Chief stated it has been a bad year with all the violence. From the officers I spoke with it’s been a good year. They are proud of taking some of the most violent criminals and drug dealers off the streets. I believe that dealing with the violence is why they became police officers. It sounds like violence is another way of saying they enjoy the “action”. One common issue all the officers expressed was after doing their job, they are all growing tired of the second guessing and brow beating from their superiors. That must be mentality exhausting knowing they have to make split second decisions doing their jobs only to be ridiculed saying they should have done it different. Maybe it’s just time for a change.

  • 1234543 says:

    Simple solution, in the private sector if you are not happy with your employer, you quit, move on. Life is short, don’t work at something you’re not happy with or comfortable with.

  • guest 123123 says:

    That is the point I try to make all the timw when these government employees whine and complain. Unless there is something illegal going on there is not much you can say or do.Some know they would not cut in in the private sector workforce so they stay put and keep complaining.

  • WPD TRUE N ' BLUE says:

    Hey Ralphie! You just don’t get it do you? It’s not about pay…it’s about YOU! And lets not leave out your two wingman. Marshal couldn’t tell the truth to a stop sign and we’re still wondering what exactly does Cunningham do here. But you keep on schmoozing the public making them think that you’re doing such a wonderful job, and we just want more money. Maybe PERF can help you see the light!

  • guesty says:

    Marshal Williamson couldn’t find his butt without the help of a map and a GPS. Or he could ask directions from the officers that currently have their noses up there.

  • Guest987 says:

    Well when the chief is not supportive of his officers in times when he should most definitely be, what would you expect?

  • ABNRGR says:

    The truth is low morale is usually a result of loss of respect for their leadership. I missed this point in the article!

  • Rumblefish says:

    Until command staff down to the lieutenant levels are re-evaluated, the moral will stay low.

    If you are a ‘golden child’ you can do anything you want and keep your job. For example the lieutenant formerly over hiring violated many policy’s yet remained unscathed. From manipulating an interview panel to get favorable results for a friend to practicing age discrimination in not allowing officers to attend training, she had run of the department without fear of punishment. The chief was made aware of her indiscretions at the time yet no discipline was issued. It appears her ‘friendship’ with the city manager has multiple benefits.

  • guest 1234 says:

    Friendship? Thats what its called? This “lieutenant” has been the focus of other issues in the past, and it doesn’t come down to “friendship”. It comes down to the REAL problem – racism, racism in the form of “protection”. Thats the real “code of silence”. Thats the topic that wasn’t brought up in the survey results posted, but its definitely a root cause.

    With that thought, maybe it becomes obvious that the blame being thrown around here isn’t fair. Remember, the chief works for the city manager, who really pulls the strings. Who was it that recently crushed moral for city employees? Cheatham. The chief has pushed for better benefits each year. Who says no? Cheatham. Don’t be short-sighted.

  • Charlie Sheen says:

    Yeah Ralph it’s the violence that’s got morale down ! Morale is down because you turn your back while your staff mistreats their subordinates ..I wish I could get paid 60 g’s to be a world class jerk ..Ralph has made some of the best ..and WORST promotions in the history of WPD … $10,000.00 to evaluate the Dog unit ? It’s too late the damage is done that money for the law suit that you’re gonna pay out on.. Why put the remaining members under a microscope because of someone else’s mistake and lack of supervision. You can’t be promoted without a degree but we seem to have an open policy on A** Holes..

  • WPD TRUE N ' BLUE says:

    First off Charlie, Ralphie makes about 160g’s to be an A…hole. Second, you need to go back and read the finding that the k9 officer was cleared by the Grand Jury, DA’s officer, and IA. So yes, you are correct in a probe into the unit is a waste of time and money. The incident that should upset you is paying out $8000 to repaint a $3000 car due to the inabilities of another k9 officer. Then we can discuss how many OFFICERS get bit instead of the bad guy. Then again, maybe a probe isn’t such a bad idea.

  • BJsmith says:

    This is just another attempt to the department to force council to give them more money they do not deserve.If they can’t enforce all the laws in the city then why do they need more money? Here is an idea. Get rid of all the top dogs and bring in fresh college grads with no experience or judgement and over pay them just like you do with all the other city jobs. This way at least someone there will appreciate the fact that they have a job.

  • liberdee64 says:

    They put their lives on the line everyday when they go to work. Yes, they have jobs, but you need to be happy and compensated appropriately for the kind of work you do.

  • Rumblefish says:

    If you have been around long enough, you might remember when she was a patrol officer she had a ‘friendship’ with Lt. Brown. In the course of that ‘friendship’ she allegedly fired a shot at another female officer while both were on duty, in full uniform in the police department parking lot. She thought the other female had started a ‘friendship’ with Lt. Brown as well. She also admitted in court to cutting tires in the course of her ‘friendship’ and the only punishment she received was a short suspension. How a person can keep a job in law enforcement and be allowed to be promoted up to lieutenant level is mind boggling. And because she has gotten away with attempted murder, she feels she can do as she pleases without any punishment. Now having a ‘friendship’ with CHEATham has expanded the untouchable mentality she has.

  • Rusty says:

    Just wanted to say THANK you WPD! I know it doesn’t make up for below average wages and those in the community that don’t (but should!) trust in y’all and everything you have to put up with every shift, every day.. But I still raise a glass your way and salute you. (Same to NHCSO although they don’t get as much media coverage.)

  • Charlie Sheen says:

    My facts are fine. The salary I mentioned was in reference to Ralph’s command staff. The ones he allows to act like jerks. As far as the K-9 incident I never said that he was found to have broken a law. I said the city will pay off in a lawsuit.

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